Our Embryo Adoption Process

Photo by  Luma Pimentel  on  Unsplash

So, not long after getting on the “embryo adoption waiting list” we were notified that there was a couple wanting to donate their embryos! Wow! it was happening! We were ecstatic! Yes, Yes, Yes we want those beautiful frosty little babies!

I don’t know how varied the embryo adoption process is nationwide but our embryos were adopted from a couple that were patients at our fertility clinic. Where each embryo comes from and how they came to be is unique. Some embryos that get placed up for adoption are from a man/woman couple themselves, some are created using donated eggs and hubby’s sperm. Some are from wife’s eggs and donated sperm. And some are made using both donor egg and donor sperm combo. There are many reasons for this variety. Maybe the woman’s eggs are “blah”, maybe the man’s sperm is “blah”, maybe it’s a woman/woman couple or man/man couple and they need the missing piece, maybe there is a genetic issue a couple is trying to avoid and therefore doesn’t want to use their DNA. Maybe its a single female wanting to start a family. So many interesting possibilities and stories I’m sure. There are embryo adoption websites too where you can adopt them from all over the country and have them shipped to your clinic for transfer!

Now, while it is true that you do pay “compensation” to egg donors or sperm donors for their contribution, embryo adoption is just that, an adoption. Once the sperm/egg union has taken place and the cell has undergone a few cellular changes it gets the esteemed label of “human tissue” and you can’t trade/sell that good stuff, you must adopt it! So, I believe the couples or persons placing their embryos up for adoption are not “compensated” for the embryos necessarily. I’m guessing there might be more legal specifics on that but that’s how I understood it. You pay for legal paperwork/filing and such but it is way less than any of the fertility treatment costs we incurred!

Compared to the rest of our journey this “adoption” process was quite simple! After formal paperwork and lots of signatures we were adoptive “parents” well, sort of. We, of course, had to implant one into me and hope that they found a comfy spot to take root.

80+ shots and a couple of months later I was officially pregnant. I was cautiously optimistic having been “here” a few times before. Every day, being the “realist” I am, I was waiting for the “ball to drop”, the “bubble to burst”, but everyday I woke up still pregnant! I don’t think I really felt confident until oh…about 25 weeks. Having worked a short time in the NICU during my career, 25 weeks was to me at least a glimpse at a promise of a potentially healthy, “viable” baby! At 25 1/2 weeks I got the the visceral, bodily connection that “I wanted” in the form of hospital admission for strict bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy. I laughed as I heard myself explaining to my nurses that I had chosen embryo adoption in order to have the “pregnancy experience”! Should’ve been more specific with that wish.

Sheri Sturniolo